The Road to Transition…Paved with Good Intentions?

Rotterdam_Bulk_terminalAs British Brexit negotiators are hoping to secure an agreement on the transition period at the European Council on 22-24 March, Sionaidh Douglas-Scott explores what they should keep in mind, and discusses sticking points to prepare for.

Both the EU and UK appear to accept that a transition period (or as the UK Government prefers it – ‘implementation period’) will be necessary to effect Brexit, as it is unlikely that agreement on the UK’s future relationship with the EU will be reached and implemented before 29 March 2019. Continue reading

Why National Parliaments in the EU Should Be Empowered

big-benOn Monday 12 October 2015, a panel of experts will to discuss the role of national parliaments in the debate on the EU at an event at the UCL European Institute. Here, Sandra Kröger, lecturer in politics of the University of Exeter, talks about the ‘democratic disconnect’ in the European Union between domestic and EU-level political institutions. She proposes that national parliaments can, and should, be empowered, but also that national parliamentarians need to make better use of the powers already available to them by engaging more closely with EU affairs.

In early 2013, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has publicly announced a referendum on European Union (EU) membership by the end of 2017 should he be re-elected in 2015. He has since linked the now certain referendum to the re-negotiation and eventual re-location of certain competences to the UK as well as the possibility, for the UK, to opt out of specific policies. Just how convincing such demands are in the light of the recent British government’s own balance of competences review not finding any competences that should be returned to Westminster is open to debate. Be that as it may, one central demand of Cameron is a ‘bigger and more significant role’ for National Parliaments (NPs), reflecting a desire for more national democracy. Continue reading

How much closer are we to Brexit?

If the British general election was a shock to many in the UK, then it was equally so for the chancelleries across the European Union. As much as they had started to think about a British renegotiation and referendum, there has been a very strong sense that the election result would throw that out of the window. Any such thoughts are now firmly gone. Dr Simon Usherwood explores the outcome of the British General Election and the implications for a British in-out EU referendum.

Partly because no one seemed to really expect to win a majority, all of the main parties in the election took a relatively firm line on the EU, so that they could use it in any coalition negotiations. Perhaps none had been as firm as the Tories, with their red line on renegotiation and a referendum: having suffering both internally and externally for stepping back from a popular vote on the Lisbon Treaty, David Cameron needed to be seen to following through.

Thus, it should be no surprise that in his earliest pronouncements after the results became clear, Cameron signalled that he was going to push through the necessary legislation for a vote in short order in the new parliament. While his party might disagree about many aspects of European policy, he can be assured that this will pass.

However, the easy part ends there.

Continue reading